This will be my last post on Aperture 3 for a while, which I'm sure those of you who don't use Aperture 3 will be glad to hear. I have mentioned this in one of the earlier posts, but despite my early troubles with Aperture 3 it is now the only application that I use to edit my images. Part of the reason for that is the simplicity of the workflow within Aperture, and it's image libraries which take care of image organization for me. Secondly due to the fact that almost all of the tools that I need are included in Aperture itself, which means I don't need to do a bunch of run arounds with several different applications.
Aperture 3's Curves Tool
One of the most powerful new tools in Aperture 3 is the curve tool, which allows you to work with overall RGB adjustments, plus you can work with the individual Red, Green, and Blue channels as well. This gives you a great deal of flexibility before you even start moving any of the other adjustment tools in Aperture. Using the curve tool you can achieve things that were not possible without it, which is why I said that the curve tool was one of the most powerful new tools in Aperture 3.
There are several more things new to Aperture 3, such as the ability to directly upload to Facebook and Flickr, which if you use those services is extremely nice to have. I upload all my images to Flickr right through Aperture's built in tool and then use a third party plug-in to upload images to my website. In the case of the built in tools you get to manage your images right in Aperture, so you can sync your photos to Facebook or Flickr whenever you feel that the images are ready. It is also extremely easy to remove images from a site by simply removing them from the project (each service creates at least one project/album under a folder with the service name).
The other headline features of Aperture 3 are Faces and Places, but as I mentioned in my first entry on Saturday last week, I don't tend to use those features enough to get a good feel for them. I turned faces off as soon as I got Aperture 3, I simply don't like how long it takes to find the faces, and it slows down the upload and processes of images. Places would be very useful if I had a camera with a GPS unit, but right now I do not, although I have thought about getting a GPS for my D300 from time to time.
Overall I'd have to say that I like the changes that Apple made with Aperture 3, which is now a much more powerful tool than it's predecessor, and keep in mind that I already like Aperture 2 for the most part, as it was. The tools that I was happiest to see added are, adjustment brushes, the curves tool, and the improved upload features. Apple has also improved overall RAW conversion, since Camera RAW 3.0 first came out. I would say that the area where Aperture 3 improved the most in RAW conversion is noise control, which is much better than in Aperture 2. Rather than just having noise reduction on for RAW images you can now choose how much noise reduction is applied on conversion, at least for most cameras. Some older cameras RAW files are not supported by the newer noise reduction algorithms, but almost any of the supported cameras, that have been made in the last 3 years, are as far as I can tell.